Beacon Authors Feature: "Cork and Knife" by Emily and Matt Clifton


Writers have always been a-plenty in New York, but the ones who live in Beacon just keep being published and putting out amazing books! We are featuring them here in our new series, “Read Local.” Sometimes these pieces will be interview-style, while other times they might simply dive into the book. The writer of this series is Phoebe Zinman, who also pens (types) the Writerly Happenings series. Enjoy!
Story Sponsor Opportunity: If you are interested in sponsoring this series, please reach out to us! It is through sponsorships with businesses and individuals that we are able to produce articles like this one.

By Phoebe Zinman

We are going to do a series of articles on some of the extremely talented authors in Beacon. We have a few lined up but we’re very excited to kick it off with food bloggers Matt Clifton and Emily Clifton ahead of the release of their new cookbook, Cork and Knife, published by Page Street Publishing, available Tuesday, August 6!

For those who don’t know Matt and Emily yet, they are well-known food bloggers over at Nerds With Knives, and they keep an impressive real-life garden. Matt is an IT ninja who is British and has helped many a Beaconite with their computers and other various electronic things, and Emily is a visual artist (and in charge of the garden, I am told).

When I first spoke to Matt about the book, it was by phone and I was walking through the Poughkeepsie Galleria trying desperately to find something appropriate to wear to a big work event. Matt, on the other hand, was preparing to leave for a last-minute lesbian cruise to Alaska. That had come about last-minute because his wife and cookbook co-author Emily would be filming as well as screening her new documentary on lesbian country singers. People are the deepest of wells, no?

The next day he dropped off a cookbook that I could peruse, and peruse I did! I put in about 15 Post-It notes on recipes that I decided would make my life way more complete. So far, I’ve made exactly none of them. Which is what I do with every cookbook I’ve ever had. I adore cooking, and I do it all the time… I’m just more of an “instinctual” type of cook as opposed to a recipe-following type.

So, I thought I’d ask Matt and Emily for some advice and also about the process of writing their very gorgeous cookbook, and about some of their favorite recipes. Our interview is below:

Q: How long have you been blogging at Nerds with Knives?

A: Matt: We started in spring of 2013, the year after we moved to Beacon. I think the most accurate origin story is that we were always looking for the best way to organize our Thanksgiving and holiday recipes every year, many of which had been adapted from family members, and a blog seemed like a good fit for a visual artist and an IT professional! Probably about two years in, once Emily developed a visual style for the photography and I found a writing style that fit (funny but informative), the blog started getting more attention. 

Q: Was a book always the goal?

A: No! I think honestly we were surprised that the blog got as much traction as it has, and for a long time it really was just something that we just enjoyed working on for our own benefit and enjoyment. When we started getting visits from random faraway countries (and not just our mums) we realized we’d got an actual live human audience. 

Q: Were you approached or did you approach a literary agent or publishing house?

A: We were approached last spring by Page Street and asked if we’d be interested in working on a book for their cookbook range. They have a pretty wide range of recipe books and have worked with a lot of people we know in the blogging community, including Katrin Bjork, a writer and food stylist/photographer who lived right down our street until this year.

We had been approached for a book by a different publishing company a few years ago and we put together some samples but never heard from them again, so possibly our sense of humor scared them off.

Q: What recipe do you recommend to someone who can’t follow a recipe? I’m an incorrigible improviser, so which recipe is the most forgiving? I was all set to make the Roasted Radishes With Sake and Brown Butter on page 88… and then it was too hot to put on the oven so I just sliced them up and put them on a baguette with butter and salt.

Photo of the Roasted Radish With Sake and Brown Butter recipe.  Photo Credit: Phoebe Zinman

Photo of the Roasted Radish With Sake and Brown Butter recipe.
Photo Credit: Phoebe Zinman

A: Emily says: I’m an incurable recipe tinkerer too and before we started the blog, I don’t think I had ever cooked a dish the same way twice. Braised dishes, like the Chicken Thighs with White Wine, Meyer Lemon and Fennel are perfect for improvising because the technique works well with many different flavor combinations. Switch out the Meyer lemons for limes, and shallots for the fennel, add a little cumin and the dish becomes Latin-inflected. Add cherry tomatoes and basil in place of the lemon and fennel and it’s Italian.

Also the sauce for the Roasted Tofu and Butternut Squash Curry is the perfect refrigerator empty-er. You could throw just about anything in that spicy red coconut curry and it’s going to taste good. 

Q: Which are your favorite recipes and is there a good story about why?

A: Emily: That’s like asking a parent to pick a favorite child! They’re ALL our favorite (just kidding, we definitely like one kid more). Probably for me it’s the Beet and Gin-Cured Salmon because it reminds me of when my family would bring bagels and lox from Zabar’s to my grandparent’s house in Queens. Also it’s just so damn pretty. Also the Chicken Roasted with Sake, Scallions and Ginger because it was one of the first dishes I made for Matt when we were dating. 

A: Matt: I have to say the Pork Belly: That crackling (that we would make for a family Sunday lunch) might just be the best thing in the world. 

Q: The tone of the introduction and chapter intros is really relatable and I like the balance between the historical info, the scientific info and then your practical/personal take on what tastes good together. Did you write them together?

A: Thank you! We did. We wanted the book to be as useful as possible to people with all sorts of skill levels, whether you’re just starting out cooking with alcohol or have been using some spirits but wanted to experiment with flavors. We’re pretty nerdy in general about researching ingredients and techniques, but we tried to keep the information useful, and not just interesting.

We also sought a lot of input from our friends, with special thanks to Sara Milonovich from Artisan Wines (on Beacon’s Main Street), who helped us sound like we knew what we were talking about in the wine sections. 

Q: How was the process of writing this book as a couple? I’m picturing some lovely sepia-tinted reel of you tasting sauces in a most loving way, but then also maybe someone throws the wooden spoon at the wall and says they quit. But then you make a batch of homemade onion rings and decide to give it another go. Who was in charge of what part of the process?

A: Matt: Once Emily had worked on the recipes, in some ways, actually making the book was easier than the week-to-week blog. That sounds odd to say it, but we knew what our deadlines were, we could figure out how many recipes we needed to make and shoot per week, and we gave ourselves a few “break” days just to keep our sanity. There were, I think, two days where we cooked and shot three recipes a day, and there may have been a little fatigue-related spoon throwing on those evenings. 

Generally, Emily worked out most of the recipes (although I took over for a few of the desserts) and is the principal photographer and food stylist. I did most of the writing and assisted on the shoots, unless I had a strong idea of how the styling should go. We shared cooking duties, although for most of the entrées Em will be executive chef in the kitchen and I’ll do sous duties. The process actually really helped us become better collaborators. We both felt a lot of pressure to both meet our deadline and to make the book as good as it could be, so we really worked well as a team. 

Q: What are some of your favorite things to eat in Beacon? 

  • Fried chicken sandwich at Beacon Daily

  • Coffee and any kind of cheese from Beacon Pantry

  • In the winter, a turkey-corn chowder from Bob’s Mountain Deli

  • The granola french toast at Beacon Falls Café

  • The cherry-cheese danishes from All You Knead

  • Not strictly Beacon, but we love both the bibimbap and bulgogi at Toro in Fishkill

  • Nose-to-tail pork ramen at the Roundhouse

  • Takoyaki (octopus dumplings) from Quinn’s

  • Fried chicken from BJ’s

  • Anything with lamb from Kitchen Sink

  • Warm Brussels sprout salad from Melzingah

Phoebe’s Final Burning Question…

My final burning question was what they like to sip on while they are cooking with alcohol (so meta) and discovered that Emily loves a good gin cocktail but worries that it can turn her “from a fun and loose cook to a sloppy and dangerous one pretty quickly” so she sticks with wine, mostly. Similarly, Matt says he has to “limit the amount of actual danger in the kitchen, so I try to limit my chefs-tastes to wine or beer.” 

Solid advice, we think! Stay safe, aspiring chefs of Beacon. And please go congratulate your neighbors (maybe they’ll invite you to dinner)! You can order the book on the usual online outlets like Target and Amazon, or you can get it through Binnacle Books or your favorite local bookstore. Even walking into Barnes and Noble is fun! But don’t forget that the local bookshops can order for you! And then we get to keep the local bookstores here as neighbors.

Barb's Butchery - The Back Story of the Farm Fresh Butcher Who Sold You a Rump

Barb, founder of Barb's Butchery.

Barb is a math nerd whose thoughts crystallize into Ven diagrams. She is also your freshest local butcher, who sees meat as "a giant puzzle". The puzzle for Barb isn't just how the steer fits together or comes apart, it's how people want to buy it,  when they want to buy it, and how much they want to pay for it. But she hasn't always had visions of poultry and pork. In fact, Barb was a math teacher before she decided to learn how to become a butcher and open Beacon's first butchery in December 2014, Barb's Butchery at 69 Spring Street. Well, Beacon's first butchery during these times. Perhaps twenty years ago there was a butcher, but for those living here now, word on the street was that Beacon needed a butcher.

People are wanting a butcher who can cut local meat that is heavily researched and approved of by a person they trust. They want to know that the chickens are actually running around a farm like one hopes they would, not the horror stories from links that go viral with disturbing pictures. Farms Barb sources from include include Fazzios for chicken, Meiller Farms for beef, pork and lamb, and Dashing Star Farms for lamb. And if you don't feel like cooking your own, Barb's Butchery is a supplier to Poppy's for burgers, and Dogwood for the burgers, lamb, sausages and "pub grub", and Quinn's for pork and sometimes pork bellies. Barb's Butchery has also started serving lunch and dinner - albeit in limited hours. Dinner is from 5pm - 7:30pm so you better get there quick so as not to miss the hand cut and fries and beer battered onion rings.

Barb's 3 year old daughter was her biggest connection to her first customers. A lot of the parents of little friends of Lila were craving local meat where they knew where it came from and how it was treated.  Trendy in Beacon is to "buy a cow". If you don't live here, that sounds odd, but people really do go in on buying a cow together from a local farm, and are given cut or ground pieces to store in a giant freezer in their basements. So friends of little Lila were in a Facebook group to put in their requests of what kind of meat they wanted Barb to cut for them when she want on a buying spree. Before she opened the shop, Barb had a loyal clientele.

"I see overlaps in math, it's terrible."
Barb states this like it's a nuisance, but it's wonderful for business. Barb is in tune with with people's needs, and knows that they need meat fresh, fast and for dinner. But they can't always get out to get it. She can calculate her costs and profits quickly, so she is constantly whipping up different deals and meals that people can buy. Like the February Special that can include 2 5oz filets, 2 6oz sirloin steaks, 4 bone in pork chops, 1 whole chicken, 6 all beef hot dogs or 4 fresh sausages, and 2 Beacon Pie Company Hand Pies (your choice of Apple, Blueberry or Cherry), all for about $49.99 (for the grain finished version). Dinner for the week…DONE.

Businesses in Beacon are hard to pin down. They either open up shop, and don't catch the vibe of Beacon needed to stay. Or they open up shop, business booms, and they move to a larger location down the street. Just look at Beacon Bubble, Beacon Pantry, The Hop, and Ellas Bellas who expanded next door almost immediately. Will Barb's Butchery move? Probably not. Barb and her husband bought the building they opened the store in, and totally renovated it before opening. Under a dual loan - one for the business of owning a building and another loan for the business of a butchery - they are all in. And sure enough, Barb is already needing more space to store meat as their sales increase.

Refrigerated truck to the rescue! Barb has a truck that can store meat, which makes it more convenient for her to actually purchase more meat directly from farms and skip the step of farms taking it elsewhere for storage.

More importantly for the rest of us, Barb's Butchery is going to deliver - if you want it. For those of us in Fresh Direct Withdrawal, Barb's Butchery can drive up to your house in their big truck to deliver your meat order of $50 or more, within a 10 mile radius of the store, and east of the Hudson River. Do you want it? Let her know - seriously - by going to her Facebook page to tell her. For a more in-depth look at how Barb funded the butchery - and the building its housed in - see this article.

And now...for pictures.

This is Porkchop. Yup, Barb called his references and
that really is his name. He's trying to make it legal.

This is your sausage maker. Making lots and lots of sausage
for Sausage Fest 2015, a kielbasi filled day on 2/28/15 Barb
cooked up to introduce more than 21 sausage varieties.
A doodle on tile in Sharpie marker by Porkshop in the kitchen.

Teamwork. There are 7 employees total.

My lunch of a roast beef sandwich with swiss cheese.
I ate all of the fries before I remembered to take a picture.
Also pictured here is my trusty pink glitter notebook for notes
that made its debut on a treadmill.

Congratulations, Barb! And thanks for opening!

Banana Bread Recipe with Pumpkin Pie Spice Balsamic Vinegar and Maple Syrup

While shopping for olive oil in the Scarborough Fare Olive Oil & Vinegar Tap Room on Main Street, this Pumpkin Pie Spice infused balsamic vinegar caught my eye. Pumpkin Pie Spice anything would be great, and the cashier told me of how she'd been baking with it, and to her surprise, repeatedly goes bottles rather quickly. I'd been wanting to make a banana bread, so bought a bottle of it, plus a bottle of the Tuscan Blend extra virgin olive oil, and marched straight home to modify my regular recipe for banana bread!

Get ready to make some of the best banana bread ever,
and without white sugar.

With a banana bread, I start with the basic recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, but the 1968 edition. Any edition from the 60s would be fine because it was before the recipes were edited to include fat-free versions with margarine, aspartame or other artificial sweeteners. Our recipe does not have white sugar, but instead uses maple syrup. The consistency of the bread is unaffected, and in fact, with the additional liquid, is deliciously moist and sweet.

1/3 cup soft butter
5 tablespoons 100% maple syrup
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice balsamic vinegar from Scarborough Fare
1 teaspoon olive oil (Tuscan Blend from Scarborough Fare is a good match)
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (or 1 teaspoon for salt lovers)
1 cup mashed ripe banana (or 1 yellow banana, and 1.5 brown mushy bananas)
plenty of butter for spreading on slices of cooked banana bread

Enjoy watching the thick Pumpkin Pie Spice balsamic vinegar
pour into your teaspoon.

  • Cream together butter and maple syrup. 
  • Add eggs and beat well.
  • Sift together dry ingredients, then add to creamed mixture alternately with banana, blending well after each addition.
  • Pour into a well-greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350degrees for 45-50 minutes or until done. 
  • Remove banana bread from pan and cool on rack. 
  • Slice one piece and eat immediately with butter to enjoy the warm butter on the fresh bread. 
  • Wrap or place into plastic bag whatever you don't eat and store in refrigerator for a longer keep. Store at room temperature if you are finishing within the next three days. Only wrap when the bread is completely cool.

Take a picture right away of your masterpiece,
as you will eat it faster than you think!

Look at These Great Brands - Key Food Shakes Off A Haunted Reputation

My family and I moved to Beacon in 2009 from Manhattan's "Upper Upper West Side" on Columbus Avenue. Grocery stores were all around us. Our apartment was above a Bravo, and we had several "markets" on Broadway. Not to mention vegetable stands, and an occasional honest to goodness bakery. Whole Foods had just opened up a few blocks down. Life was good food-wise.

So when we moved to Beacon, we had one requirement: to live within walking distance to a coffee shop so that we didn't experience too much of a culture shock from living in the City where we walked everywhere. This was one of the best requirements to have, because it meant we moved within walking distance to a big grocery store, Key Food.

In the last few years, I've noticed many changes at Key Food, as have others. From the classical music playing during the day, to the wide selection of organic and independent brands stocked on the shelves. So I took a meeting with two of the owners of Key Food - Junior and Mo - to give me the real scoop on what's been going on.

We met behind the big black doors near the produce section - the real behind the scenes of Key Food! Junior confirmed rumors I'd heard from shoppers who commute to Beacon from areas south of Newburgh, that this Key Food in particular was known for listening to shoppers. Junior says he takes many requests and finds the items to put on the shelves. I asked him if they felt as if they were living under the shadow of previous owners. Junior somberly nodded his head. Unknown to me was that the current owners of Key Food and my family moved here at the same time, so I didn't experience what longer Beaconites had encountered. From the day they bought the Beacon Key Food, his family, who also lives in Beacon, has been working to improve damaged relationships from everyone including customers and vendors.

As for pricing, well, I know that business owners do their best to deliver to their customers, and that the equation that makes a price is calculated based on what makes that business tick, from employees to benefits to group purchasing sales to warehouses. For instance, some grocery stores own their own warehouses to keep prices down, while other grocery stores can't take on owning a warehouse so they pay a warehouse to store their inventory, like Key Food does.

At the end of the day, has Key Food made a Beaconite's life easier? Yes. Several shoppers gave me their favorite items that they find weekly at Key Food, so lets walk the shelves in Key Food to see  what's in stock!

Mrs. Meyers is a fixture in our home, as is the $.99 dish soap!
Key Food gives you a selection here, to pay a few dollars more
for Mrs. Meyers, or $.99 for a generic brand. We actually use the
$.99 dish soap but buy the Mrs. Meyers counter spray and all
purpose liquid to refill.

Organic milk is a highly sought after item. New to me was the
price of Hudson Valley Fresh, a local brand that is delicious
and responsible. It's a fact that Stoneyfield milk is in the $5
range when it can be found at Hannaford for the $3 range,
but here sits Hudson Valley Fresh for $3.19!
An often over-looked and local choice.

Hello delicious cottage cheese.

Tas Kafe and Sumptown are favorites for a lot of people,
but so are illy and Starbucks for others. Lately, Starbucks
has been on sale for $7.99 or $8.99, which is on par with
Hannaford and other big stores.

Ghee has been growing in popularity by health enthusiasts
and butter lovers who want more from their butter, but less fat and
these health benefits.

Those who love nuts are loving the dedicated
nut section that has been living near the meat department.

The gluten free pasta selection has increased, as well as pasta
alternatives like rice pasta.

An entire freezer of healthy food! From frozen Indian food
to frozen Annies to Ezekiel bread.

And look! Ezekiel bread in cereal form!
Or you can get a strawberry PopTart. Options!
Annie's chocolate chip bars!

Some people really love seaweed snacks. Here is Annie Chun's
brand of Korean seaweed, and it's not the only brand here.

For the babies, HappyBaby and HappyTot. Pick up one as
you shop to help getting through the isles easier.

Hot dogs aren't the healthiest things, but if you like them,
the Boar's Head beef brand has been a favorite.

Alright - I'm no meat specialist, but early adopters of grass fed
beef like Poppy's has helped bring responsible meat to Beacon.
Beaconites actually have several options to get great meat that has
been raised  responsibly, but if you're in Key Food getting
other things and can't make another the meat section
does offer a wider selection now.
Northerers don't know how lucky they are to have Sticky Fingers
BBQ sauce in a bottle. I know this first hand because I
lived in Charleston, SC and frequently went to Sticky Fingers
restaurant before they bottled their sauces. Finger lickin' good.

Thanksgiving Catering Menu Ideas for Pies, Breads, Shrimp, and Turkey!

The ovens are getting hot on Main Street, cooking special treats for you to serve at your Thanksgiving gathering. If you are hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner, you're going to want to invite more people because your catering menu choices are that good. If you're packing it all into a car to travel to Grandma's house, you're going to want to make room for a large storage box to transport the amazing food that's on the holiday catering menus at a few Main Street bakeries. After you read these choices, you may want to host a "Leftovers Party" just so that you have an excuse to serve more accent dishes.

For all of these menu options, you'll need to call each store ahead of time to place your order and check their hours for when they are closing for Thanksgiving. Some bakeries as well as a few restaurants are offering special hours around the holiday. Not all of your favorite eateries are closed on Thanksgiving Day!

Make your menu, decide what you're making and what you're ordering, and get to dialing!

Cheeses at Beacon Pantry.

Because cheese can be stressful if you don't know how to order it, Beacon Pantry will hand select an array of artisanal cheeses for you, perfect to serve to company the night before Thanksgiving so that you don't have to cook, or on Thanksgiving afternoon as everyone waits for the turkey! You can also find artisanal cheeses at Homespun, but special to Beacon Pantry's Thanksgiving Catering Menu are cheese platters served with dried fruit, nuts, and sliced baguette or crackers. And if you're partial to your own platter, or want to spruce up your serving table by getting a new one from Hudson Beach Glass or Utensil, and bring the platter to Beacon Pantry and she'll plate your cheese for your order. Need a little olive oil for dipping? Stop into Scarborough Fare and pour your own flavor to take home.
Pumpkin fondue at Ella's Bellas.

Pumpkin Fondue...because you've never tried it, or because you've enjoyed a slice of pumpkin fondue at Ella's Bellas with a salad. It's also another reason to have a pumpkin on the table and because you don't have to prep this fondue! Ella's Bellas has a fully baked Pumpkin Fondue on their catering menu that comes stuffed with layers of cheese, bread and rosemary, baked to perfection. It also comes with re-heating instructions, and yes, you can eat the pumpkin flesh as you scoop for melted
 cheesy bread.

Thanksgiving is not complete without shrimp cocktail, and Beacon Pantry has mixed a house-made cocktail sauce to go with domestic wild caught shrimp.

You've got options, and an ability to give back to the community by ordering turkeys from these stores:
Beacon Natural Market is getting their turkey from three different farms this year:
Hidden Camp

Beacon Pantry is getting their turkey from two farms with a few options on the type of bird:
Campanelli Farm in Kenoza Lake, NY
Northwind Farm in Tivoli, NY

Key Food has partnered with I Am Beacon for the "Turkey on Every Table" food drive. Key Food will be storing all of the donated turkeys in their warehouse to be distributed. And of course you can get a turkey at Key Food.

Ella's Bellas is offering a Mushroom Herb Stuffing made with Ella's Bella's bread, celery, raisins, and apple, to be ordered per person. They are also offering seasoned cubed stuffing by the bag.

Oh brother, you have some tough choices to make. We are lucky enough to have a few really, really good bakeries in Beacon. We have so many good choices, that for this article, we needed to divide this carb section into Breads and Rolls. At All You Knead, find challah rolls, cranberry raisin pecan rolls, and regular white or multi-grain rolls. At Beacon Bread Company, find brioche loaf rolls, harvest grain loaf rolls, and rye rolls. At Beacon Pantry, find country white, challa, and whole wheat multigrain. And at Ella's Bella's, find rosemary or plain rolls. As with everything at Ella's Bellas, the rolls, bread, and anything is gluten-free.

This is where your dinner planning gets tricky, but fear not, there will be a bread for your style of a meal. At All You Knead, find challah bread, cranberry raisin pecan bread, seeded rye bread, marble rye bread, and sourdough – plain or whole wheat, multi-grain, rosemary herb, or white wheat Pullman. Beacon Bread Company has a brioche loaf (it's perfection), a harvest grain loaf, as well as a baguette. Find sweet breads like orange gingerbread, banana, pumpkin cranberry, and apple raisin bread at Beacon Pantry. And expect to find has their rosemary or plain baguette at  Ella's Bella's all if which is gluten-free.

And because you need bread pudding, All You Knead has it in banana, pumpkin or chocolate flavors.

Making your own pie? Utensil posted
a link to this recipe at FOLK.

You thought you were already in trouble? Brew a pot of coffee from Tas Kafé (at Ella's) or Sumptown (at Beacon Pantry), or Starbucks (at Key Food) because you're about to indulge in a lot of pie that will require your very own home made whipped cream that you whipped together from a pint of Hudson Valley Fresh cream (at Key Food,) vanilla, salt and powdered sugar.

Homespun is offering a variety of pies, starting with the basic pumpkin pie, and ranging to a caramel pecan tart, vanilla cranberry jam cake with pumpkin spiced buttercream, pumpkin cheesecake, almond daquoise with pumpkin buttercream (gluten free), and an apple pecan crumble in a deep dish aluminum tin.

At All You Knead, choose from an old fashioned pumpkin pie made with Denning's Point Distillery whiskey. Or go sweet and traditional with pecan, apple buttermilk, and apple pie.

Dennings Point Beacon
American Whiskey
in All You Knead's pumpkin pie.
Beacon Pantry has pumpkin, apple, apple crumb, cranapple, and a mixed berry crumb for those who need a fresh flavor after dinner. Beacon Pantry also spiced it up with Frangipane Tarts in many flavors including blueberry, raspberry and more.

Beacon Bread Company has traditional pumpkin, apple and pecan pies. Ella's Bellas has the traditional pumpkin, apple and pecan, but also tempt yourself with a fudge pie with a chocolate chip cookie or hazelnut shortbread crust. (!?!)

Get Frosted Cupcakery is also baking pies in the flavors of Apple, Cherry, Pumpkin, Peanut Butter, Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Cream. Want a cupcake? Pumpkin spice cupcakes and pumpkin cheesecakes are also available.

Check all stores for hours and ordering and pickup deadlines, and no, this isn't even everything you will find on their menus.'ve got choices for a great dinner, and a reason to have a second party for leftovers with a fresh pie.

Honey for Fall Days - A Boutique's New Staple

Fall's chill is in the air! And so are scratchy throats. Beaconites know how to face harsh weather, and it's to embrace it and treat ourselves to nature's deliciousness - honey. And boutiques are fully stocked with local honey!

480 Main Street
East End of Main Street on the Curve
Visit Utensil's Facebook Page
Catskill Provisions makes a seriously amazing raw honey. Why? Because their motto is happy bees make happy honey. Their bees must be very happy and sweetly fed. New to your tastebuds and sure to warm your body is Mike's Hot Honey which has been infused with chilis. Like you needed the extra spike of awesome! But you did because your butternut squash needed to kick into high gear. Utensil always picks the best selections for your culinary needs.

Beacon Train Station
Beacon's Farmer's Market on Sundays
Not only can you find raw honey at the Beacon's Farmer's Market, from Honeybrook Farms but you can find the Honeybee Pollen for those of you who want to eat local bee pollen to help build resistance to local allergies. And can pick up a big jug of pure maple syrup while you're down there...

462 Main Street
East End of Main Street Before the Curve
Normally found in Lauren & Riley are party dresses, cute tops, adorable little girl's dresses, and Betsy Johnson-esque shoes. But this season they are offering you honey with tea! Or is it the other way around. Hudson River Apiaries honey is on the shelves at Lauren & Riley.

267 Main Street
Middle of Main Street Across from Key Foods (who also has honey)
Known for French selections, Beacon Pantry of course has specialty raw honey, and stocks the often sought after Lavender honey, in addition to Acacia, Chestnut, and Cinnamon Creamed honey (!?!). Dips and spreads for chicken just got a lot more interesting...  

Drink up! Or for you serious honey lovers, spoon it up.

Summer Wine Picks from Artisan Wine Shop

Summer and wine...such a happy combination. Of course your inspiration for different wines will come from different places, so we talked to Tim and Mei at Artisan Wine Shop for their recommendations on the perfect red, white or rosés wines for summer occasions available in their wine shop right now. Keep in mind, Tim recommends that most red wines should be served chilled in the summer. About 30-45 minutes in the 'fridge should do it...


You've been gardening, pulling weeds, harvesting beans, transplanting hostas, building decorative walls, and you're ready for a glass of wine. You're hot and tired, but you feel great after all of that physical work that looks so rewarding. What wine should you pair with your mood?

Arca Nova is a Vinho Verde that is a refreshing white with a lightly bubbly effervescence to keep the taste fresh and you cooled off. It's a white wine from northern Portugal made from light, crisp grapes that are green and lush.

The red Gamay from Domaine Les Hautes Noelles should be chilled and is a 'vin de la soif' (a wine for thirsty people) pulling in a cherry flavor that is low in alcohol.

You're heading to Riverfront Park for a picnic, music festival, or a stroll down Long Dock, or are having an Alice in Wonderland type picnic in the pruned shrubbery at Dia (get some cheese from Homespun's Dia location), you'll want a wine that will match the early night breeze.

You'll enjoy the Schlossmuhlenhof, a Riesling, but not just any Riesling...a dry Riesling Trocken that is native to the Germans who make and drink it. According to Tim, the Germans don't drink any other type of Riesling, certainly not ones that are sweet, which can be considered the norm by Americans. It's lower in alcohol, crisp, clean and good with food.

The Fuori Off Road Strada, a liter of Tuscan red wine in a box.  Packs well in a sack, and you'll get more wine with less packaging! Put this organic boxed wine on ice. It's a Chianti, but not officially classified as such, being that it's in a box. It's light and crisp with some structure and dryness from the tannin. It will have dryness on the finish and is good with food.

You're going to a friend's BBQ or backyard grill, and everyone is bringing their craft beers and growlers from The Hop, but you want to bring wine.

The Effet Papillon is a Cotos du Roussillon blanc from the southern part of France. It's wrought with soft texture and stands up to the weight of grilled chicken, fish and vegetables. The Effet Papillon picks up flavors well to enhance your meal.

La Flor is a Malbec that is full of flavor. It handles heavy foods like meat well, but could be drunk by itself. This red wine is tangy in nature, and works well with BBQ sauce.

Tim was especially excited to share his favorite bottles of rosés. The Lieu-dit Cocagne Coteaux du Vendomois and Pigoudet Premiére. The Coteaux du Vendomois is dry and savory with no sweetness, and is best 15 minutes after opening. The Pigoudet is made from a blend of grapes and is more fruity because of the warmth of the region.

And of course, you must have the proper glass! If you are on a picnic, traveling or just want to drink from a sturdy cup outside, the govino wine glass is shatterproof, reusable, disposable and available locally at Utensil. So fit in the trip from one end of town to the other when you are headed to your event and are picking up wine on your way! And don't forget, if you need a quick apple pie, there are usually mini apple and cherry pies ready at BJ's. 

All of these wines are available in the Artisan Wine Shop, so print out this guide or mention the Summer Wine Pick Guide on A Little Beacon Blog for some guided direction on picking your wines!

Really Good Cup of Coffee Espresso-Style at Home w no Machine

After Super Storm Sandy, my business partner at 'PRENEUR and I wanted to send a care package to a small business friend who had lost her house and her soap making business. Without electricity for ever it seems, she's been making lukewarm, weekly filtered coffee on her grill. A girl needs good coffee if she's going to rebuild her biz, so I walked down to Mountain Tops on Main Street in Beacon to see what sort of camping style coffee maker they had. My requirements:

- not electrical
- easy, won't break
- don't have to clean it much
- no filter.

I thought I'd be getting a French press. It's what I use, has no filter, and I can do it one handed with one kid on my hip. However, the camping pros at Mountain Tops steered me to the AeroPress, a funky little coffee maker plunger thing that makes espresso shots or style of coffee! It has a filter, but is a tiny circle of paper that didn't seem like a big deal. As for cleaning, there really isn't any cleaning because of the way the coffee gets pressed into an espresso shot, and then into trash or compost. I doubted it, but ended up buying one for our friend, and one for my dad, because he likes strange, inventive ways of making things good.

And then we traveled for Thanksgiving, and I forgot my French press at my parents. Darn! I broke open the AeroPress and made myself a latte. Yes, a latte. Why? Because it makes espresso style coffee! I couldn't believe it! I've been drinking 2-3 a day now! (Sorry Bank Square for not banking coffee money with you).

You put the grounds in, then a certain amount of hot water, then comes the press part, where you press a plunger down for about 20-30 seconds. Voila. You have an espresso shot. Pour in hot milk (or half hot water and half hot milk). And I even have mocha powder, should I want to spruce it up a bit. But normally, I only put in a 1/8th of brown or white sugar, which is far less than I was putting in my regular cup of french press coffee, which used to cause major sugar crashes for me, and I'd hunt for the nearest brownie. Literally, pounding the pavement. Which is how I know where the best baked goods are in Beacon.

I know. That's a lot of passion from a cup of coffee. But it's true. And I'm happily hooked. And got another one for my dad (since I'm using that one), and one for my brother and his wife, since they appreciate coffee as well.

Thanks Mountain Tops!

Summer S'Mores Without a Campfire

This is a delicious S'mores recipe - without lifting or burning a finger. It's the no-work s'more that even a small kid could make.

- 1 graham cracker
- chocolate chips
- sun on an 85 degree day

Take out your graham cracker. Sprinkle the desired amount of chocolate chips on it in a position in which they can melt. Unless you have central air conditioning, chances are your chips are already soft, unless you keep them in the fridge.

Place loaded graham cracker in direct sunlight outside on a porch or other surface, and wait. Check on the chips after 5 minutes. They may not look melted, but try to spread it. Once the chips are soft and warm, you have a nice little s'more waiting to be eaten!

Pairs well with a chilled glass of Pinot Gris. :)

Butter Your Banana Bread with Chocolate Instead!

A nice 4 o'clock snack, or bread item with coffee at breakfast with sunny side up eggs is banana bread with a chocolate spread. Make your favorite banana bread recipe, and for the chocolate spread, melt semi sweet chocolate chips with heavy cream in a pot on low heat. Stir constantly and don't let it get too hot. If it boils, lower the heat. When melted, let cool and spread! Put the extra in a dish and refrigerate. In the morning, take out the chocolate spread to take the chill off. Spread on your banana bread and enjoy!

Maple Hill Creamery Yogurt Substituted in Hollandaise Alternative Recipe

plain Maple Hill Creamery YogurtYum...My hubby wanted a steak for dinner, and I wanted to contribute something zesty to the flavor of steak and mashed potatoes we were about to enjoy. We had broccoli in the fridge (bought at Beacon Natural Market), and I wanted a Hollandaise sauce to top it. I googled up my friends the Purcell Sisters to see if they had a Hollandaise recipe, and they had something better - a 10minute alternative of their own creation called the Lemony Dipping Sauce.

The Lemony Dipping Sauce is based on sour cream and mayo. But we didn't have sour cream. We did have plain Maple Hill Creamery Yogurt (local to Little Falls, NY), also purchased from Beacon Natural Market. I checked with the Purcell Sisters on Facebook to see if yogurt would suffice as a substitute, and they replied that it might, but since it's not as thick as sour cream, it might be a thinner dip. Not having had the dip to compare, I must say that plain Maple Hill Creamery Yogurt is quite creamy and thick for yogurt, which is just the way I like it! So...I think a good substitute!

Results? My husband said after eating a piece of broccoli: "First bite: awesome."

His next comment, after bumming himself out that he didn't buy himself a sirloin because he was visually tricked into thinking that a big juicy Chuck would be as good: "The sauce is the best part of the whole dinner." Though I liked my steak, and my mashed sweet potatoes with cinnamon and nutmeg, The Purcell Sister's alternative Hollandaise sauce was definitely the most sophisticated flavor on the plate, and made eating that broccoli darn easy.

Thanks Purcell Sisters and Maple Hill Creamery!